Friday, June 28, 2013

Femme-spiration Friday: Selena Gomez

My love for Selena Gomez manifests itself in a lot of ways that are heartfelt. One might say she is the role model I didn't get to have, my main muse; others might find it somewhere between annoying and creepy (the majority of people who scoff while they ask me how young she is are actually the same age or younger than her), but anyone who knows me knows it is not a guilty pleasure. I am a genuine fangirl, artist, and self-proclaimed scholar of Selena Gomez. Reasons I adore Selena Gomez are frivolous and profound, rooted in longing, desire, celebration, and an unfinished girlhood (neither of us had QuinceaƱeras). 

After her success as the first young Latina protagonist to star in a television series on the Disney Channel, the now twenty-one year old Selena Gomez continues to rep her Mexicanidad in her post-Disney public image, pop music, and acting career. Named for the Tejana singer, Selena occupies a long overdue, totally rad position of a mixed/Latina teen icon at a time when more than ever young Latinas and mixed heritage girls need role models. Like any teen star who recently transitioned into womanhood, I realize she has sported and continues to rock a variety of styles and not all of them are flawless or free from valid criticism, but I’m going to share a few of my favorites.

I. Selena Gomez as Alexandra Margarita Russo

I first fell under the spell of Selena Gomez in her role as Alex Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. This show came late for me. I was already 17 when it debuted, and in college by the time I discovered it. I didn’t grow up seeing images of my family portrayed in popular media. Most of my upbringing and identity formation happened around cultural clashes and differences, assimilation, de-assimilation, and struggling to be understood both in language and sexuality. It was sometimes painful and it was oftentimes humorous. Wizards uses humor to explicitly address the realities of mixed Latino families struggling to maintain their traditions and vaue systems in the face of white/anglo hegemonic U.S. ideals, without making Otherness a punchline.  
Alex is all about kicking back in converse, not the idea of wearing a fluffy pink dress for her QuinceaƱera.
The show can spark conversations for all kinds of mixed families, and does important work by celebrating a new type of young mixed Latina. So where do the outfits come in? Alex's style is actually pretty crucial to the way I think this show breaks free from stereotypical representations of Latinas in popular culture.
Why they couldn't hook it up with a spray can, I don't know. You'd expect Alex to find a way around the 18+ rule.
So let me get real for a second:

The Latina body has endured a complicated and prescriptive experience throughout the history of Hollywood cinema and television. There are very specific types and tropes that still dominate roles available for Latina actresses today. In many ways, mainstream media characterizations of ethnically and racially ambiguous Latina bodies have the power to destabilize and disrupt essentialist, traditional notions of Latina identity and authenticity. 

Alex Russo is flaca (not curvy) and she dresses in a generally gender nonconforming style (she loves jeans, shorts & converse sneakers) and her character isn't concerned with U.S. Anglo notions of beauty and femininity and defies assumptions about Latina identities. Alex Russo is very outspoken, artsy, mocks the idea of getting makeovers or having slumber parties, and is not interested in achieving popularity or excelling academically in school, preferring to earn her notoriety for her rebellious personality and artistic talents.

As bummed as I was when the series ended, Disney somehow read my mind and produced a special entitled Alex vs. Alex, which features an evil doppleganger villian who kills it, making my goth Disney dreams a reality. Alex actually has a few darker moments throughout the series, but this look is by far my favorite:

The villain stripe is a slippery look that very few have been able to pull off, but it's on point here and we'd expect no less from the franchise that created some of the most iconic and beloved villains.  More Disney villain femmespiration here.

Which brings me to another great look...

II. The Post-Justin All Black Everything

Something that I love about Selena is that she doesn’t really have one singular style (re: Taylor Swift or Demi Lovato), nor can her style really be traced in terms of the evolution of trends (re: Miley Cyrus). Lately, Selena has been sporting some darker, edgier looks that I whole-heartedly admire and would totally wear. 

From cut outs to sheer details, Selena has switched it up with plunging necklines and fully embraced the color black, (both on and off the red carpet) which I could not be more thrilled about as a woman who can never find a damn thing in heaps of black clothing. It’s in these looks that I really find inspiration in for my own style.

The dark cat-eye is key to pulling off this look & it's personally something I never leave the house without.

III. Honorable Mention: Casual Street Style

Selena is actually pretty low key in her day-to-day outfits. She sports a lot of flowy, lose fitting tanks, graphic tees, and beanies and she loves a good flannel. Her flannel look is always effortless and she always looks comfortable. 

Big thanks to Meg & Melina for inviting (and trusting) me to do a femmespiration post on the one and only Selena Gomez. 

besos y abrazos,


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Girlfriend repeller

Here in the Northeast, things have been getting awfully hot and sticky, and dressing up is quickly turning into dressing in as little as possible while still looking like a respectable human being. The heatwave has given me the opportunity to don some of my favorite items, which also fall under the category of Ali-repellers (see the definition of "man repeller" which I've learned could also be referred to as "girlfriend repellers" in some circles). 

The first is this Proenza Schouler for Target dress from several years ago, which features a) bright colors and b) a loud pattern that screams Miami in the 1960s. The second is my enameled pineapple necklace, a prize item from a fruitful estate sale in Melina's hometown. These items, coupled with some pinned braids to keep my thick hair off my neck and a glorious reunion with my favorite lipstick, Make Up For Ever's 41 made for an outfit that I love, and that Ali courageously tolerated. Sorry, boo.

On a more serious note, hip hip hooray for today's SCOTUS decisions overturning DOMA and rendering Prop 8 unconstitutional. SCOTUS might not always be my favorite (yesterday's gutting of the VRA was less than desirable), but today I'm a happy femme.

Dress: Proenza Schouler for Target (2010)
Necklace: Estate Sale (2011)
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeen Ornament Clogs (available here and now on sale for the small of feet...)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Short shorts, tall hair

Femmes, I'm short on time & mental energy at the moment while I prepare for my Big Trip, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you understand what I mean when I say that sometimes you just need to have really big hair for no reason at all, even when it's a Sunday, and you aren't doing anything more stimulating than walking the dog around the neighborhood with your boyfriend. Sometimes you just need to wear a spontaneous and gratuitous (half) hive with your floral print shorts, and nothing else will do.  

I've been looking for the best way to style these awesome shorts that I scored on sale at a J.Crew Factory store a few weeks back. First I wore them with a sheer, bright yellow t-shirt that I bought on the same spree. But I am also kind of liking them with this (very old) navy tank with a crochet detail at the neck.

Once again, I relied on my trusty Dansko Sam's to work with shorts—and I think they did. I've been doing this a lot lately, and they have managed to complete looks in a wide range of styles and registers, from denim cutoffs, to colored denim, and now print!

Of course, ice cream was involved. Although after sampling the divine soft serve in K.'s hometown this past weekend, I'm not sure a Mister Softee truck will ever be quite the same to my newly refined palate.

shorts: J.Crew Factory (available here)
shirt: very, very, very old—likely from Kohl's c. 2006!
purse: vintage (estate sale)
shoes: Dansko Sam
lipcolor: Wet N Wild "Don't Blink Pink"

Okay—now on to the edits of my conference paper that Meg just sent me!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Venice Femmestagram

If you've been wondering where I've been and if I've been getting dressed, here's some femmestagram proof...

1. Art selfie at Sarah Sze's amazing American Pavilion / 2. The Russian Pavilion- only ladies are allowed to collect the money! / 3. Venice's brilliant answer to smoking: these fireproof portable ashtrays / 4. Self explanatory / 5. Unfired clay work from the Encyclopedia Palace at Giardini / 6. Installation by Polish sculptor Pawel Althamer

1. Art selfie at the Italian Pavilion / 2. With the tetrarchs! / 3. Amazing smelling spices at the Latin American group pavilion / 4. Delicious, at La Zucca / 5. From the vaporetto / 6. Scandinavian group pavilion

Friday, June 21, 2013

Femme-spiration Friday: Lelaina & Vickie from Reality Bites by Candace

My best friend still denies it, but she absolutely destroyed my VHS copy of Reality Bites when we lived in our first apartment together. 

And I deserved it. I watched that movie like it was my job. I can still quote every line and cadence. I’m amused -- and somewhat embarrassed -- by how every time I revisit it I discover that there’s some weird reference I didn't get back then. Because despite my best efforts, at 18 years-old it turned out that I did not actually know everything.

No one has ever looked so great while running a credit card scam. Or had such a great haircut. 

Winona Ryder plays Lelaina Pierce, fresh-out-of-college graduate and hopefully documentary filmmaker in the age of MTV’s The Real World. “I’m making this documentary about my friends. It's really about people who are trying to find their own identity without any real role models or anything.”  Obviously.

This is basically the expression I had on my face throughout my late teens and early 20s. And maybe last week. 

Vickie Miner is her best friend, played by Janeane Garofalo. Vickie is that real friend you need to call you on all your bullshit. And if your Lelaina Pierce, you have a lot of it. 

My love for Janeane is endless. 
Now Lelaina Pierce is inherently flawed. But she’s Winona Ryder. Who is also inherently flawed. So in my mind this all sort of works. Meanwhile, Vickie is a fucking rock -- even though she spends the majority of the film terrified that she has AIDs because of all the sex she’s had. 

This movie is a Gen X classic, with characters who fill their personal interactions with so many pop culture references that the real dialogue and honest emotional moments start to feel like the commercial breaks in the television show that is their lives. 

I recently battled it out with a colleague at work who insisted that I was a Millennial and not a member of the coolest generation. 

“You can’t just chose what generation you belong to. I can’t just decide that I am a Baby Boomer,” he said. 

But if you’re on the cusp it isn’t so simple. Being born in the late 70s early 80s is a little bit like the generational equivalent of being ages 11-13. Tweenage. Stuck between childhood and adolescence. If you’re my age you grew up in the shadow of everyone’s cooler, older, authentic Gen-X sibling. They were old enough to go to Nirvana concerts before Kurt died or whatever. They got Singles and we got My So-Called Life (note for editors: can I just call the post about Rayanne Graff right now?). 

But they couldn't keep Reality Bites to themselves. 

If GIRLS has taught us anything (oh boy, here we go), it’s that the more awful and unlikeable you can make your character, the more realistic you are attempting to be (see what I did there? I called all those girls unlikeab--oh forget it). Lelaina is kind of awful. But unlike Dunham’s creations, I can relate to her ways of awfulness. I can understand falling into a pit of depression over not knowing what you want to do with your life and then racking up a giant phone bill with your psychic that you manage to pay off through an elaborate scheme that can only be described as a credit card scam involving a gas station. 

Lelaina and Vickie are just trying to make their way through the world. They’re trying to not become their parents. They’re trying to figure out what adulthood is actually supposed to be. And all throughout my early (...mid...late) 20s, I could find reflections of my own confusion inside their cheesy references.  

As a Gemini, I find that it is completely appropriate to adore two characters equally at the same time. Its part of that whole twin/dual identity thing. These two are yin and yang. 

Reasons to love Lelaina: 
  • She runs out of coffee filters and then makes a pot with toilet paper and sings Schoolhouse Rock songs to herself while braiding her hair (see above).
  • Her “work clothes” are these insanely oversized pants that she pairs with the world’s literal largest black blazer (it comes down to her knees) and a sheer button up.
  • She is putting all her energy and heart into making a documentary about her friends, poster children for Generation X, but somehow elevating their pop culture references with reflections of real emotional turmoil (see also: Douglas Coupland).
Reasons to love Vickie:
  • She kind of has her fucking shit together on a pretty basic level. If even she doesn’t realize it. 
  • Vicky’s outfits steal the show. It's like shopping at a vintage store and grabbing everything that is big and colorful and bold. Yet she works at The Gap and we also get to see her wearing khakis and chambrays throughout the movie. 
  • She's funny and nothing is hotter than humor. She keeps everyone in line, including her self indulgent BFF. That's the kind of person you want in your life. 

Oh and since I think this is actually supposed to be a blog about fashion on some level, I think I am contractually obligated to point out that Lelaina and Vickie’s outfits are stellar. And so 90s. This is basically the makeup of my entire closet: floral dresses and jumpers, oversized button downs, and sleeveless shirts. Bonus points for really cute short haircuts. 

My dream is that I will someday have what it takes to rock a vest like this.

Look at this fucking vest. What is even happening here? 

As a mature (ha) adult woman now I can finally look back on this movie and file it under “nostalgia” instead of “active, relevant emotional go-to films.” But just because I think Troy Dyer probably cheated on her in the fictional world where the film continues and Michael was never good for her anyway. As I’ve said elsewhere (yeah, this is not the first time I have spilled digital ink over this movie) I like to imagine that Lelaina and Vickie grew the fuck up, got their shit together and now run a business doing something cool. They’re probably consultants. 

These tights. That is all.

Because isn't that the American dream job of Generation X anyway?


Y'all, I'm happy to finally return to you after a phenomenal two weeks in Venice, only a little sunburnt and a little cranky from jet lag. As much as I miss traveling by boat, ample opportunities for gelato consumption, and the great and powerful spritz ritual, I'm thrilled to be reunited with Ali, my car, and my expansive wardrobe-- plus the ability to wear makeup without it melting off of my face the moment I walk outside into the heat.

Here are some shots from a lazy day running errands with Ali- our current project is reupholstering an antique couch, so we're been spending our days obsessing over textiles and patterns. For this day I did what I do best: steal Ali's clothes. 

On the plus side, Ali managed to snag some of mine for our day-- an even trade. Remember this thrifted floral shirt that I love but feel a lot of anxiety about styling (see here)? In our recent move it nearly made its way back into the yard sale pile, but in an inspired move Ali tried it on, and I insisted that she keep it.

As you can see, Ali isn't generally the most willing subject.

Recent nautical tattoo! 

You don't have to be super-femme to steal your best friend's shoes...

On Meg:
dress: stolen from Ali, some juniors brand from TJ Maxx
shoes: Swedish Hasbeen Ornament clogs via Madewell (available here)
earrings: cicadas from Erica Weiner (available here)
sunnies: AJ Morgan
tote: from the Museum of Everything at the Venice Biennale

On Ali:
shirt: thrifted by Meg
shorts: Paperboy cuffed twill shorts from Anthro (available here)
shoes: Clarks borrowed from Adina
belt: Madewell
bag: vintage Coach (affectionately called "taco purse")